Follow our pancake tips to get the best results…
Q – Should I use a wooden spoon or whisk to make my batter?
A – Use a handheld whisk to make your batter. This gets rid of any lumps. It is best to whisk the batter by hand rather than using an electric whisk as this avoids overworking the flour.
Q – Should I make my batter in advance?
A – Ideally make your batter and let it rest for about 30 minutes before cooking. This allows the flour to absorb the liquid, making the pancakes lighter and fluffier.
Q – Why buttermilk?
The acidity of buttermilk reacts with the raising agents to make you pancakes lighter and fluffier.
Q – What if I don’t have buttermilk?
A – Don’t worry. You can make your own buttermilk by adding a squeeze of lemon juice to regular milk and then letting it rest for 10-15 minutes.
Q – Butter or oil?
A – I always use butter rather than oil as I prefer the taste. My tip is to melt the butter in a separate bowl and then, using a pasty brush, lightly coat the bottom of the pancake pan. Also wipe out the pan between batches with kitchen paper to avoid the bitter taste of burnt butter.
Q – How do you make up pancake mix?
A – To make up a pancake mix from The Little Pancake Company, all you need to do is empty the packet into a bowl and add an egg and 250ml of milk or buttermilk. You then whisk the mixture until combined and you’re ready to go.
Q – How do you cook pancake mix?
A – Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat and melt a bit of butter. Add a large spoonful of batter to the pan and spread with the back of a spoon to smooth it into a circle shape. Let the pancake cook for a minute and then check the underside to see whether it is cooked. When your pancake is cooked, the underside will be a golden brown colour and there may be small bubbles on the top of the pancake. Once your pancake is cooked, flip it with the spatula and let the other side cook until golden brown. All flavours have serving suggestions on the back of the packet, and are available to buy in our online shop.
Q – What sort of pan is best?
A – A thick bottom frying pan is best. The thicker base means the heat on the bottom will be less intense and provide a more even heat so the pancakes are less likely to burn.
Q – How do I know when to flip my pancakes?
A – Wait until little bubbles form on the surface and once they start popping, flip the pancake over. They are ready when the underside is a light golden brown.
Q – Do you flip American pancakes?
A – Yes – you’ll need to flip your American pancakes to make sure that they cook on both sides. Unlike crepes, you don’t flip them in the air as they are heavier and we want to ensure they stay fluffy. Use your spatula and flip them over gently once the underside of the pancake is cooked.
Q – My first pancake often is a disaster!
A – Don’t worry, treat the first pancake as a practise. It is unlikely to be the best as the pan needs time to warm up and you need to get used to how much batter to add to get the perfect thickness.
Q – How do I stop my pancakes from having bubbles in them?
A – Small bubbles appearing on the top side of your pancakes and crepes are a good sign, as it means that the underside is cooking. This type of bubble typically sink down within the batter.
Large air bubbles that spring up on top of the surface of crepes are not so good, however, as these bubbles tend to pop and can leave holes that prevent your crepes from cooking evenly. These large air bubbles are usually a sign that your crepe batter has been over whisked and has too much air in it. Try whisking by hand, rather than using a food processor. Another tip is to whisk your eggs in a separate bowl until they are pale in colour before you add them to the batter. Then just whisk the batter until the ingredients are combined and the mixture is smooth.
Another cause of these large air bubbles can be that the heat isn’t being distributed evenly under the pan. Make sure the pan is centred on the hob and is free of any residue inside or out.
Q – How do I stop my pancakes from sticking?
A – A very common problem but easy to fix:
To stop pancakes from sticking, make sure you properly grease your pan – use either butter or oil and spread it evenly with some kitchen roll or your spatula. You can grease your pan between pancakes if you’re having problems but with a high-quality pan you really shouldn’t need to.
Check the temperature of your pan – too hot and the pancake can burn and stick to the bottom of the pan; too cool and the pancake will cook slowly and may stick to the pan if you try to flip it before it is properly cooked on the underside. You want the butter to sizzle when you add it to the pan but not to turn dark brown and burn.
Get some spatula action going – loosen the edges of your pancake as it cooks with your spatula. This will help stop the pancake from sticking.
Make sure you’re using a high-quality non-stick pan – there’s nothing wrong with having a dedicated pancake pan! Use a silicone spatula to ensure your pan doesn’t get scratched – this will preserve the non-stick coating. Wash in warm soapy water after use, and leave to soak if needs be rather than scouring.
Q – Can you freeze pancakes or pancake batter? And how do you defrost them?
A – Yes you can – layer kitchen roll between the pancakes or crepes once they are cooled to enable you to separate them whilst they are still frozen. Freeze in Tupperware or in a freezer bag. You can also freeze pancake batter or crepe batter and then simply cook your pancakes once it has defrosted. For best results, use within 1-2 months.
To defrost, leave at room temperature for a few hours, or in the fridge overnight. You can reheat your pancakes by putting them in an ovenproof dish or baking tray covered in foil and popping them in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 5-10 minutes. You can also warm them up in the microwave or in the toaster if American pancakes.
Q – What is the difference between pancakes and crepes?
A – We tend to use the words ‘pancake’ and ‘crepe’ interchangeably but they’re actually very different. The main difference is that pancake batter has a raising agent in it such as baking powder or baking soda, whereas crepe batter does not.
This means that pancakes are thick and fluffy whilst crepes are thin and flat.
Crepes also tend to be large in diameter compared to pancakes, and are often rolled or folded with a filling.
Pancakes, on the other hand, tend to have a filling (such as blueberries) mixed into the batter and cooked within the pancake itself.
Q – Why are pancakes thick and fluffy but crepes thin?
A – It is the raising agent (such as baking powder or baking soda) that makes pancakes thick and fluffy. A typical pancake recipe also uses only one egg, where as a typical crepe recipe will use three. The extra liquid from the eggs gives you a much thinner batter, and therefore much thinner crepes.
Q – How do I avoid having holes in my pancakes or crepes?
A – There can be a few different reasons why there are holes appearing:
You’re not fully covering the base of the pan with batter. To solve this problem, make sure you use enough crepe batter for the size of pan you have, and quickly swill the batter around in the pan to make sure there are no gaps. If you don’t manage to cover the base of the pan before the batter starts to cook, dip a metal spoon in your bowl of batter and use the back of the spoon to smooth batter into any gaps. Make sure you don’t use too much batter to fill the holes otherwise you will be left with noticeable lumps.
You’re tearing the crepes when you flip them. To solve this problem, make sure the crepe is properly cooked on the underside before you try to flip it over. If it is sticking to the pan, it may not be ready to flip, so loosen the edges with your spatula and cook for 10 seconds longer then try again. Flipping your crepe before it is cooked could cause it to tear and create holes.
You’ve got too much air in your batter. Over whisking your batter can create air bubbles that sometimes result in holes in your crepes. To solve this problem, read our tip on avoiding air bubbles.
Q – How do I reheat pancakes and crepes?
A – To reheat your pancakes, pop them in an ovenproof dish (an ovenproof plate or baking tray would work fine too). Cover with foil and give them 5-10 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. You can also warm them up in the microwave in short bursts of 10 seconds until they’re warm.
American pancakes can be heated in the toaster as well, but we recommend only doing this for plain pancakes, not those with fillings such as blueberry or chocolate which are likely to melt and burn in the toaster.
Q – How do I get my crepes really thin?
A – Don’t add too much batter. Put a ladle of mix into the pan and then quickly rotate the pan at an angle to spread the mix thinly over the surface. You can always add a little more batter if needed.
Q – Does adding beer to your crepe batter actually make them better?
A – Yes! Adding beer to your crepe batter will add a subtle but delicious flavour (even for those that don’t like beer!), and the carbonation will keep the crepe batter light. Crepes made with a beer batter will most likely have more bubbles than usual, which can be beneficial if you’ve got a topping that you want to ooze through your crepes, such as salted caramel or raspberry coulis.
Q – Should I add warm milk or cold milk to my crepe batter?
A – Most crepe batter recipes use cold milk as standard. Adding warm milk will help make your batter more non-stick, but only if you melt a little butter in the milk as you warm it. And the key word is WARM, make sure you don’t boil the milk, we’re not trying to cook our batter in the bowl!
Q – How long should I let my crepe batter rest for?
A – If you are going to let your batter rest, leave it for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. If you’ve got time, leave it for longer – even overnight in the fridge.
Some say that there is no point in letting the batter rest and there’s certainly no harm in using it straight away. Go ahead if you’re in a rush.
If you’ve got time, leaving your batter to rest can result in better quality crepes. This is partly because some of the air bubbles that have formed in the batter disappear of their own accord whilst the batter rests. It is also because it allows the gluten in the flour to develop. The flour will soak up the wet ingredients and therefore cook quicker and more evenly in the pan, resulting in a better texture. If you do leave your batter to rest, you may need to add some more milk to it when you come to use it, as it will thicken whilst the flour soaks up the milk
Q – How long should I cook my crepes for?
A – Crepes cook very quickly and 30 seconds on the underside of the crepe should be sufficient as long as your pan is hot enough. Once you flip it over, the second side should cook much quicker than the first. The trick is to keep an eye on it and look for a pale golden brown colour on the underside.
Q – How do I know if my crepe batter is too thick or too thin?
A – Your crepe batter should the consistency of cream. A good test is to dip a metal spoon into the mixture and make sure that the batter coats the back of it.
If the batter seems too thick, add a bit more milk. If it’s too thin, add a bit more flour. Make sure you sieve it in to avoid creating lumps and whisk to ensure the mixture is combined.
If you’ve left your batter in the fridge overnight, you may need to add a bit of milk in the morning when you come to use it. Things like cocoa powder tend to dry pancake batter so if you’re using cocoa powder, you may need to add more milk.
Batter for American pancakes will be much thicker in texture but you should still be able to spoon the mixture into the pan and it should start to spread a little on it’s own when in contact with the heat of the pan.
Q – What is the T-shaped stick that professionals use to smooth crepe batter onto a hotplate called?
A – We tend to call it the ‘pancake swirly thing’ here at Pancake HQ but its French name is a ‘rozell’, and in English it’s often referred to as a ‘batter spreader’.